What? Sadly, we have discovered a tumor in Chilly’s mouth, under his tongue. Ironically, even though his mommy is a veterinarian, the location of the tumor is not amenable to surgery. The tumor is an aggressive cancer for which radiation and/or chemotherapy offers little hope. All we can do is keep him comfortable and enjoy him for the time he has left. The most optimistic outcome would be a few months of enjoying his company. What do we do? We deal with pet cancer on a daily basis, but this is our pet… How do we spend his last days?
We have grappled with this new reality over the past two weeks. After some soul searching, we have decided that we should be generous with his remaining time, as being a therapy dog and ambassador for Helping Hands has brought him into contact with tens of thousands of people, many of which have been moved by his gentleness and love. Personally, he has helped us cope with health scares and the death of Jake’s mom, spending many hours at the hospice ward, cheering up other families as he has been our rock. He has spent time at the Ronald McDonald House, numerous hospitals, and at senior living facilities. The week of the Newtown school shootings, he offered comfort to the police department and spent a day in the town square, consoling residents who were coping with three funerals in one day.
In his relatively short life, Chilly has reached a pinnacle of fame that would make Benji or Lassie jealous. He was married in the Guinness World’s Most Expensive Pet Wedding, which raised a tremendous amount of money for the Humane Society of New York. His vows were even aired by Conan O’Brien on national TV. The wedding was featured on an episode of Cake Boss. He has met celebrities from Rachel Ray (who had to jump to the floor to take a pic with him), to Robin Roberts. He has enjoyed spending time on the Good Morning America set, with Ron Claiborne. And even beat out Nutzy the Richmond Flying Squirrel as Richmond’s most popular mascot.
What do we do now? Too often loved ones leave us without a warning, or we read about them in the paper, wishing we could have spent a little more time in their company. With Chilly, we (my family and all of you, his friends) will have a chance for closure. Would you like to see him? We will take him out around the Richmond area where he can enjoy the company of his friends and continue to enjoy life as long as he is comfortable. We will let you know where Chilly will be on our Facebook account and on Instagram (#chillysfinaltour). We may even take a trip to DC as he loves to stay at Kimptons and ride the elevator. If you can’t see him in person, please let us know if he has touched your life, and leave your stories on our blog or Facebook page. If you have a pet that is capable of providing joy to others, please share your 4-legged child. The Karma generated by hanging out with like-minded pet lovers is precious and one of life’s great gifts.
Please share this message with any friends that may know Chilly, and thanks to all of you for enriching our lives with your love of pets!
Lori & Jake